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Al Jazeera: Tunisia: The Calm After the Storm

Author: Intissar Kherigi
November 28, 2011

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With the historic inauguration of the Constituent Assembly, Tunisians will have the opportunity to put political and social theory into practice, writes Intissar Kherigi.

After months of instability, speculation and anxious anticipation, the moment finally arrived. The calm after the storm finally arrived as Tuesday's inauguration of the Constituent Assembly opened a new chapter in Tunisian history. The venue for the opening, Bardo Palace, was symbolic - the site of the signing of the Arab world's first constitution in 1861, which promised to usher in constitutionalism, shortly followed by the Bardo Treaty that imposed French rule.

One hundred and fifty years later, Tunisians finally have an independent, elected body that reflects their diversity and represents their voice, tasked with drawing up a constitution to enshrine their freedoms and reflect their ideals and aspirations. Tuesday's emotionally charged Constituent Assembly gathering - with its diverse members drawn from across the political and geographical landscape - could not have been any more different from the mind-numbing lifelessness of the coterie of sycophants that passed for a "parliament" in Ben Ali's days.

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